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Lower dementia risk in your 60s by increasing social activity

New research over a 28-year follow-up period finds significant evidence that frequent social contact at the age of 60 can lower the risk of developing dementia later on. Some studies have suggested that levels of social interaction can predict cognitive decline and even dementia, while others have shown that group socializing can prevent the harmful effects of aging on memory. Many longitudinal studies have found an increased risk of dementia and cognitive decline in people with a smaller social network or less frequent social contact. However, the authors note, most of these studies had a follow-up period of fewer than 4 years. Furthermore, a lot of these observational findings could be biased by reverse causation, which means that social isolation may be an effect rather than a cause of dementia. New research examines the link between social contact and dementia in more depth. Andrew Sommerlad, Ph.D., from the Division of Psychiatry at University College London (UCL), in the United Kingdom, is the first and corresponding author of the new study. We've found that social contact in middle age and late life appears to lower the risk of dementia. This finding could feed into strategies to reduce everyone's risk of developing dementia, adding yet another reason to promote connected communities and find ways to reduce isolation and loneliness.", says Andrew Sommerlad, Ph.D.

(credits: www.medicalnewstoday.com)

How diet can alter the gut, leading to insulin resistance

 

Insulin resistance occurs when the body stops responding normally to insulin, a hormone that helps the body process sugar. Developing insulin resistance can lead to type 2 diabetes, which is a metabolic condition that affects millions of people worldwide. Obesity is a significant risk factor for insulin resistance and diabetes. But how and why does obesity drive this metabolic change? Researchers from the University of Toronto in Canada believe the answer may lie in the mechanisms that consuming a high fat diet sets in motion. In the first part of their study, the investigators used mouse models with obesity, some of which lacked IgA. The researchers found that when the IgA-deficient mice ate a high fat diet, their insulin resistance worsened. When the researchers collected gut bacteria from the IgA-deficient mice and transplanted them into rodents without gut bacteria, these mice also developed insulin resistance. This experiment, the researchers suggest, indicates that at normal levels, IgA would help keep gut bacteria in check. Not just that, but it would also help prevent harmful bacteria from "leaking" through the intestines. The results of the current research suggest a direct link between eating a high fat diet and having obesity, on the one hand, and having lower levels of gut IgA, symptoms of gut inflammation, and developing insulin resistance, on the other. In the future, the researchers would like to find out how best to boost levels of IgA-producing B cells, believing that this intervention could protect against insulin resistance. If we can boost these IgA B cells or their products, then we may be able to control the type of bacteria in the gut. Especially the ones that are more likely to be linked to inflammation and ultimately, insulin resistance. ", says Co-author Dr. Daniel Winer.

(credits: www.medicalnewstoday.com)